Sunless Tanning: My Tanning Routine & Tips

One of the questions I have been getting lately is what sunless tanning lotion do I use? Like most of you, I’ve used tanning lotions that gave me orange and streaky legs and tanning lotions that smell horrible.

I’m no expert but I’ll share with you what I use and how I apply it. I DO NOT do tanning beds ever! When the weather warms up, I will lay out in the sun as long as I’m using sunscreen. When I was younger I would bake in the sun for hours. Long gone are those days!

Sunless Tanning: My Tanning Routine & TipsThere are a lot of self tanner products but I want one that works and is also not filled with a lot of chemicals.

I have two that I have been using over the last month and I like both of them.  (I purchased the Beauty by Earth self tanner and QVC sent me the Vita Liberata to try.)

Sunless Tanning: My Tanning Routine & Tips

1. Vita Liberata is a non-toxic self-tanning mousse and is free of parabens, perfume, alcohol, and all chemicals of concern and it also contains Odor Remove technology to ensure that you don’t get that gross self tanner scent (and it totally works by the way!).

I really like this mousse. It comes in three different shades, light, medium and dark. I am using the medium. It does NOT smell.

I apply this one 3 times in a 2 to 3 day period and it lasts for about a week.  I use a mitt with this one.

Sunless Tanning: My Tanning Routine & Tips

2. Beauty by Earth has no phthalates, parabens, artificial fragrances, or anything else that has the potential to harm your health. It has the best natural and organic ingredients out there.

This is a white lotion. It doesn’t come in different shades and tans dark. I mix this one with lotion when applying it to my legs so they don’t look too dark. I don’t use extra lotion when applying it to my arms, they don’t tan as dark.

This self tanner has a very light smell of aloe vera. It does NOT smell bad. I apply it one time and it lasts 3 to 4 days. I use my hand to apply this self tanner because I mix it with lotion.

How I apply my self tanner:

1. Every few weeks I use a coconut oil (this is my favorite coconut oil!) and sugar scrub to exfoliate my body. (I make this at home with coconut oil and I use organic sugar because it’s coarse.)

2. I apply the self tanner to my arms, my chest and my legs.

3. I don’t apply self tanner to my face. I’m picky about what I put on my face and I don’t like the way they feel. I use foundation and a bronzer on my face for color.

4. I don’t usually put self tanner on my back but I ordered this lotion applicator to try on my back.

SElf tanners

As long as I let both of these dry before I put my clothes on, they don’t get on my clothes. I love both of these but I might lean toward the Vita Liberata being my very favorite.

Okay, I hope that answers your questions. Did I miss anything? 

There are lots of trends for spring and summer but I’m picky about the ones I wear. I thought it would be fun to share with you the ones I want to try. I’ll be sending out a newsletter on Saturday so if you’re not signed up to get my emails, sign up today! You’ll have a heads up on what is coming up on Grace & Beauty!

 Go here and sign up today! 

Beauty for the Heart~~Bitterness, anger and pride are not attributes we want but they sometimes rear their ugly head.

But God’s word says, “Lord, may the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in your eyes. You are my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NIRV)

Praying today that our words and our thoughts will be pleasing to Him.

Have a blessed day!

*There are affiliate links in this post. This does not mean you pay a dime more when you purchase a product through my link. It just means I made it easier for you to find something, so I make a few cents when you purchase it. I so appreciate your support of Grace & Beauty. Thank you!

**Thank you to QVC for sending me the Vita Liberata to try!

leave a comment...

  1. Dear Cyndi, I love your look and check with you on Pinterest often. Grandma’s gotta keep up! Thank you for your inspiration and your Godly references and faithful comments. Go Fight Win!

  2. Coming in late on this, but I just used up my store-bought skin scrub… I like the sound of simply using coconut oil and sugar in a DIY… Do you have a *recipe* with amounts?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Beverly, I just talked about my scrub here>>
      Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Cyndi. I love your outfit updates. I am saving them to refer to when I have something special going on. I have a question about the self-tanners. I have trouble with tanner being sticky. I apply the Neutrogena which is a light mist but find that it also is sticky in the bends of my arms, knees and around my neck. It’s gross. Do either of the tanners you mentioned have that sticky effect?

  4. The Beauty by Earth one smelled like saltine crackers on me LOL 🙁
    I’m trying the Vita Liberata next, my daughter’s wedding is in a little over 2 weeks – did you say that one had no smell?

  5. Hi, Cyndi. I really enjoy your blog and the photos you feature to go along with your post. I realize this is an old post, but can you tell me where this clutch is from. It is such a soft and pretty yellow. Not harsh, just right. Keep up the good work.

      1. I just bought the beauty by earth tanning lotion and I am wondering how you shave without wrecking your tan..i usually shave every other day and dont want streaks !

  6. Good Morning Cyndi. My name is Nancy and I am from Northeast Pa. I adore your Instagram and your e-mails. As a Christian woman, Church Worship musician, I am always wanting to look the way I feel inside. God makes me feel beautiful each day on the inside as he is my constant companion and friend. Sometimes, I don’t always feel that way on the outside. I am 51 years old and my style is changing as my body changes. You style many different outfits with matching accessories and I am able to notice how clothing fits you and it helps my decisions on what to wear. You are beautiful both inside and out. Your spirit matches your daily style. As I was reading about Sunless tanners, I wanted to share with you the company that my friend introduced me to. The company is called Younique. As I have had some issues with a tumor, I am on constant watch for what chemicals I take in or put on my body. Younique is a company that uses only natural ingredients to produce their make-up and skincare products. They have just come out with a brand new line of Beachfront Self Tanning products, also made from all natural ingredients, keeping out those harmful rays from the sun and those harmful ingredients in the products. You can find information on these products at the following link:
    You also have a blessed day, my friend! Love in Jesus Name, Nancy L. Evans

  7. Rodan and Fields has a great Sunless Tanner. $24, no smell, last for days and has a 60 day money back guarantee if you do not like it.

  8. Vita Liberata was featured on Good Morning America’s Deals and Steals today and is 50% off with the code GMA! Apparently, Lara, Amy, and Ginger all use it, too, and love it! So glad I had read about it on your blog, so I knew I wanted to try it!

  9. So happy you gave us an organic brand. The chemicals absorb in your skin. The skin is called your third kidney. The biggest organ of the body. We must take good care of ourselves 🙂

  10. Thank you Cyndi for your post. I used self tanning lotion a long – long time ago and it turned my knees, elbows, wrist and ankles orange. I have notice how natural your tone is and love it. Thanks again for sharing.

    Also, I have lost your daily emails for some reason the last three days. I have reapplied the subscription but no emails saying it has been confirmed. I have even checked my spam. I hate that I am not getting your emails. I look forward to them each and every day!

  11. I have purchased the SunLabs tanning product, and can’t wait to try it!! Can you give a few details about applying it on the back of your hands and tops of your feet?? Yours is blended so well in your pictures!!!!
    Thanks a million for your awesome blog!! Always great to read your scripture,s quotes, and thoughts!!!!

    1. When I put the self tanner on my feet, I always use a little lotion. If I don’t it looks too dark. As far as my hands, I do them last. I wash my hands and then add the tanner to the back of my hands, fingers and in between my fingers.
      Hope that helps!!

  12. Thanks for sharing these. I have been using fake bake, and although it does work well, it makes a big mess! It’s a mitt and spray kind so I get over spray everywhere, plus it stains my sheets and clothing! I haven’t even gotten the motivation to start using yet this year.

  13. Funny that today’s topic is on sunless tanning lotion as I spent the better part of my morning “googling” best drug store sunless tanning lotions! I was also looking for an organic lotion and Allure magazine highly recommended one by Nature’s Gate! Thank you for your recommendations too, Cyndi! I’m with you…I want to stay away from chemicals like parabens!

  14. Thanks for doing this post. I always like to see what you are using. I have tried the Sun Labs that you have posted about in the post. I will have to check these out. I was wondering if you or anyone has ever used Younqiue sunless tanner.

  15. I love Victoria Secret self tanner. It has a bit of color so you can get it really even. I only have to apply once a week. It looks really natural. Nothing fancy to do, just shave your legs, apply. I like to use a blow dryer on low to dry it before I get dressed.

    1. Kay…I have never thought about using a hair dryer to speed up the process of drying a self-tanner..great idea!

  16. I use Jergens also and love it! But for those days when you just need a tan leg, which may not be in the summer, I use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. I love it!!! It is water resistent so you really have to scrub it off but if you do not rub real hard, the color stays on. It even stays on in the swimming pool! 🙂

  17. Hi Cyndi, I went onto QVC and watched their demonstration for Vita Liberata. It does sound promising! However, as I read the reviews, there were many comments stating it washes off right away. Do you find this to be true?

    1. hey Nancy, I noticed Cyndi said she applies it 3 times in 2-3 day period. So that sounds like it agrees with the comments to me. (Applying it quite often)…. if I’m wrong, maybe Cyndi will clarify. Hope that helps.

  18. I would really encourage you to stop laying in the sun. Even with suntan lotion you are getting the harmful rays. You will get enough damage from sun just walking and riding in your car. I am 52 and now wear a sunblock on my neck and under my makeup daily.
    You are gorgeous and so young looking . I really enjoy your blog.

    1. Laura I rarely lay in the sun but we do enjoy outdoor activities like the pool and the lake in the summer. I wear a good sunscreen. 🙂

  19. I just wish Vita Liberata was not $60. When you are 65 years old and retired you must also, watch the budget. Love everything you post.

    1. Sharon I think it’s pricey because it is a large bottle and it is somewhat organic. I don’t know why they charge more for the stuff that is better for you. 🙁

  20. The best thing I have found is The Tan Towel. They come in a box and each towel is in it’s own little package. One towel will do your entire body and the tan will last about 3 days. It doesn’t rub off on your clothes or bed sheets and there is no smell. No lotions, mousse or gloves to deal with. They also make them for your face. I buy mine at a local spa. I have seen them at Kohl’s. No orange or rust color on your skin, just a very natural looking tan.

  21. Hey Cyndi! Have you tried the Rodan and Fields sinless tanner? It’s really great and as with all of the products comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. I would for you to try some if you haven’t.

  22. I’ve used FakeBake for 10+ years, but the smell does get to me —esp. after I’ve showered it off and still get whiffs of it. I do like that it has a color in it so that I can see where I’ve applied, and it holds up pretty well, as in, once I’ve gotten a “base tan” with it, then usually only use once a week. Recently found I seem to be more reactive to topicals than I used to be (I’m 52) and so I’m paying more attention to what goes on my body. I agree with you – no tanner on my face — ever! Thanks for the great recommendations, I plan to try at least one of them.
    P.S. I stalked you online today and watched a few of your YouTube videos – now when I read your blog I’m hearing it in your voice :).

  23. I use a tinted bb cream on my face. It hydrates and gives a touch of color. I must try one of these tanners. I use Jergens at the moment and like it but it is not chemical free. .

  24. I have been using L’Oreal Sublime Bronze tanning lotion for about three years now, in Medium. It works wonderful, doesn’t rub off, and I think looks like a natural tan. It has an odor, but I think it is pleasant and just smells like “summer” to me. It probably has some of the chemicals you are talking about, I don’t know. Just wondering if it is really that bad to put a product with alcohol, etc., in it on your skin. I don’t want to be stupid about it, but I sure would hate to have to give up this tanner. Like others who have commented here, I am pasty white without it in the summer. Thank you so much for your informative blog!

    1. Debbie I am trying to use as few chemicals as I can but I still have a long way to go. I have read that it’s not good to use the self tanners hat have those chemicals but I am not an expert.
      It might be a good idea for you to google it and read about it and then make a decision. I get so frustrated sometimes because I don’t know what to believe.
      I wish I could be more help!

  25. Hi Cyndi,

    I love your posts and look forward to reading them everyday. I live in the sun shine state – Florida and am a natural red head(with fair skin). My son is getting married in May and my daughter and I have been talking about getting a Spray Tan since we are both fair skinned and do not want to blind any of the wedding guests. 🙂 The self tanners we have used in the past have left our skin with an orange tint(especially on the elbows and backs of the heels). Do the self tanners you suggest leave an orange tint?

    1. Hey Angie, when my daughter bit married she and her bridesmaids got spray tans. They really look beautiful and leave a nice glow that you don’t get from lotion tanners. It is my understanding spray tans don’t hold up well if you plan on using a pool, but if it’s just the wedding I think you would be happy with the results! Congratulations!

    2. They don’t give me an orange tint but i have olive skin. I got a spray tan before my daughter’s wedding and I loved it. I would probably go with a spray tan but test it a month or so before the wedding.

  26. Great topic! I’ve used Jergens, didn’t love. Last year I fell in love with St. Tropez foam using their mitt. Ulta carries it, and they also have travel size- so convenient if you’re traveling for a longer trip and need to add. It’s pricey, but gives some instant color so you can see that it’s applied evenly, and you look better instantly while getting gradual tan. The mitt is sold separately ($6) so go grab one if you want to try another product. I used to use latex gloves with other products, but the mitt with a foam mousse product is key for me. I just started a NEW one yesterday- looks great so far: Rodan+Fields’s self tanner from the skin care company. It smells good but does not have any instant color, fyi. It’s still pricey but I think less than St. Tropez. I may have to try your picks next.

  27. I just use the Jergens self tanning lotion and apply it two days in a row and two days off and it works great for me. I am very fair so I use the fair one and have enjoyed it the last two years…

  28. So questions …

    1. I live in Texas and as you know it gets REALLY hot here! LOL. So if I “sweat” will it come off on my clothes?

    2. I’m pretty fair skinned and you look like you’re a little darker skinned naturally — so do you think either of these products will cause me to turn orange?

    Keep all the awesome information coming!

    1. Also in Texas here! (and fair skinned) My daughter and I started using Vita Liberata last year. We swear by it. Make sure you let it dry all the way and you should be fine. My daughter also has super sensitive skin and has had no trouble with this product. Exfoliating and using the mitt are a must.

      1. Thanks so much for responding. More questions…

        I read you have to apply it 3 times and then you only shower with water? No soap?

        A short explanation of exactly how to apply and what to do (or not do) would be great.


        1. We apply it once a day over 3 days, then once every 7 to 10 days. I still shave my legs (I use baby oil gel) and exfoliate, so in a way, soap still gets on my legs. I think you just need to see how it works for you.

          Just FYI…I originally purchased Vita Liberata as a “Steal and Deal” item from Good Morning America. (GMA has this segment every Thursday.) Now I get their emails so I get good pricing.

  29. Hi Cyndi,
    Thanks for your concern about natural ingredients! My skin is so much more sensitive now that I am older and I find the natural ingredient products really work better for me now and I feel better about using them.

  30. Great Beauty For the Heart, again today! I had a friend share that she uses Jergens Natural Glow tanner mixed with any lotion you want. I have started using it and I love it. It’s very easy to do and is very natural looking for my very fair skin. And it’s very economical. Like my friend, I app,y it every night, year round.

  31. Hi Cyndi,
    This was very helpful and I love using the “Organic” in my lotions. I don’t use a self tanner but a couple times in March to get a head start…. Here in KY our sun gives a good tan fast. 🙂 My girls and I have already been tanning outside.. we use no lotion, just a spray bottle of distilled water to keep our skin hydrated . It is the lotions soaking into the skin that causes the development of skin cancer. Of course it is dangerous to sit out till you burn. Mornings and evenings are the ideal time to sit in the sun without the harmful rays. 🙂
    Love the Beauty for the Heart today! God Bless you…. Love your dress and you are looking very spring and beautiful in it!

  32. Thank you for this post. I have been looking for a non-toxi self tanner so this is very helpful information. I love your blog!

  33. I love, love, love Tanwise dark bronzing mousse sold at Sallys. It is the most natural and longest ladting product I have used. Not to mention afforadable. It’s 11.99 and most times it’s on sale for buy one get one half off. Make sure to use a glove to put it on. Btw, the light and medium shades are only temporary color. I haven’t tried those.

  34. This was a great helpful post. Would love to try the Vita Liberata when I run out of my Jergens. Can you buy a mitt separately? I don’t have one of those but they sound great to keep the lotion from getting into the cracks in your hands…


  35. I get an airbrush tan during the summer. I pay $100 per month for unlimited access but only need it weekly. The spray is organic and has no smell. The technician who applies it has become a friend and I have referred a lot of people to her for other salon services. I was messy with self tanners (streaking,uneven application), so this has been a splurge solution for me.

  36. Thank you for the information and tips on using the self tanners. I will try it! What kind of bronzer do you use?

  37. Cindy – thanks for the scripture today. I really needed that reminder as a situation has popped up that really hurt me and disappointed me. My first thought is to be angry and rant about it – but I truly don’t want my heart overtaken by this ugliness. SO, I will, with God’s help, choose to let my words and thoughts praise my Redeemer today.

    Thanks for the great self tanner info. I always struggle with it, but need to use it desperately as I’m SO pasty looking!

    Have a blessed day. (By the way, I have moved 2 times in 9 months as I relocated and had to get into a rental, but just most recently bought a home and moved again. Bless you as you prepare to move.)

  38. I love the Beauty by Earth lotion and I don’t mix it with anything. The color lasts at least a week. I’m thrilled. Thanks, Cyndi!!

  39. I tried the Beauty by Earth and it was too dark for me. Thanks for the tip about adding some lotion to tanner. I will try that.

  40. I have not used self tanners in a while.thanks for information. Me and my husband are going to Vegas in may. To renew our vows after twenty years of marriage. I think will try some.Great passage again. Bless you.

  41. Have you tried Faux Tan by Bare Minerals? I have used it for 5 years with success. It lasts at least 3 days.

      1. I use the Bare Minerals too and love it. You might not have the right shade for your skin Cyndi. Mine is dark! 😉 It’s also low on “think dirty” app which is great And i love the brush applicator it comes with 😉 thx for all the info on self tanners.

    1. I used Faux Tan by Bare Minerals before and when I woke up the next morning my cream colored sheets were rusty colored where I slept.

    1. Here’s the post on the dress>>

  42. A while back you suggested Sun Laboratories Self Tanning Lotion. Do you not care for that one any more?

    1. Hey Jan,
      I love the Sun Labs tanning lotion but as I have been striving to put better products on my skin, I am trying to use more organic lines.
      It’s so hard to find products that work but also don’t add chemicals. I’m not sure that Sun Labs has healthy ingredients and that’s why I have been looking for different products.
      It’s a learning process and I’m still learning!

      1. Jan just asked the question I was going to ask about whether you still use the SunLabs after posting about it last year. I bought a bottle and still have some left so I guess I will continue to use it and then purchase something new. Was just curious what the reasons were for you switching to something new this year.

  43. Cyndi, Do you use Sunlabs anymore? I’ve been using it for about a year based on your reviews of it. I really like it. Do you like what you are using now better than Sunlabs?

    1. Hey Kim! I love the Sun Labs tanning lotion but as I have been striving to put better products on my skin, I am trying to use more organic lines.
      It’s so hard to find products that work but also don’t add chemicals. I’m not sure that Sun Labs has healthy ingredients and that’s why I have been looking for different products.
      It’s a learning process and I’m still learning!

  44. I wanted to try the Vita Liberata, so I’m going to buy it. I recently bought the St. Tropez brand. The original one went on really nice , but the next day when I showered (it was tinted ) it just washed off and I had very little color. So I returned it and bought the ‘dark’ , I haven’t used it yet so I’ll let you know. Also , the orininal didn’t smell when I first put it on, but the next day, it was a strong smell of self tanner. 🙁